Community Prospect Rankings: David Holmberg Snags #7

Norm Hall

Mongo like pitch.

The newest arrival to the Reds' system, David Holmberg locks up the #7 spot on our list. Acquired from Arizona in the trade that sent Ryan Hanigan to Tampa, Holmberg looks to be solid SP depth, and will almost certainly start the year in Louisville, where the Bats will have a decent floor/low-ish ceiling rotation including Holmberg, Chien-Ming Wang, Jeff Francis, Chad Rogers, and perhaps Daniel Corcino. Speaking of, one of these guys joins the list today.

TUCKER BARNHART, 23, C
Highest 2013 Level:
AA (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
.348 OBP in 2013, his highest since Rookie ball.
Most Worrisome Fact:
Durability, maybe? He's yet to top 100 games in a single season thus far.
Aliases:
Bad Mother Tucker, Drive by Tuckers, Tucker? I hardly knew her!

Tucker Barnhart has been one of the most consistently consistent player in the Reds minor leagues over the last three seasons - slashing .273/.344/.387 in 2011, .247/.330/.363 in 2012, and .260/.348/.348 in 2013. His 41 games in AA at the end of 2012 brought down his overall numbers, but his second stint in AA was much more successful at the plate while still providing the stellar defense he's been known for throughout his minor league career. As a switch hitter, Tucker hits much better from the left side of the plate (.754 OPS as a LHB vs. .428 OPS as a RHB). The comparison to Ryan Hanigan still seems apt, and if he can continue to get on base at the rate he has, we may see him in Red sooner rather than later.

BEN LIVELY, 21, RHP
Highest 2013 Level: Low-A
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 4.31 K/BB; 12.3 K/9
Most Worrisome Fact: Despite a 4-pitch arsenal, none project as plus-plus
Aliases: Blake, Live-Arm Lively

Ben Lively had one of the best debuts for a Reds pitching prospect in a long time. He went his first 7 starts without allowing an earned run. He was striking guys out left and right, and wasn't walking many. Lively's stock is certainly up this year, and another season of peripherals anywhere close to what he showed last year will keep him towards the top of prospect lists. I list him here over Michael Lorenzen because he has a better chance of sticking as a starter, though I know many will disagree. Lefties hit him slightly better, but he doesn't appear to have much trouble with them, at least so far. I'm really high on this kid.

MICHAEL LORENZEN, 22, RHP
Highest 2013 Level:
AA (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
8.1 K/9 over four levels in 2013.
Most Worrisome Fact:
Lack of secondary offerings may relegate him to the bullpen.
Alias(es):
Um... Lorenzen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (That's pretty bad, someone give us a better one.)

Selected by the Reds with the 38th overall pick in last summer's draft, Michael Lorenzen might be the most intriguing prospect in the system right now. Lorenzen was a two-way player at Cal State Fullerton, logging time in center field as well as in the bullpen. Initially, the Reds hinted at trying him in the field as well as on the mound, but it now appears the Reds want him to focus on starting. Over the last few years, we've seen some possible trends starting to emerge with Buckley's drafts, and Lorenzen fits a few of those. First, he's a gifted athlete that has not focused on one specific talent as of yet (much like Billy Hamiton and Amir Garrett), he's a college reliever they would like to convert to starting (Cingrani), and he doesn't have a ton of innings on his arm (Travieso, Cingrani). On the mound, Lorenzen has an easy delivery with very simple mechanics. His fastball, which was clocked as high as 99 mph this year, is his best pitch, but scouts think his slurve-y breaking ball could become another above average offering. He still needs to add a third pitch to the mix, most likely a change, to be a viable starter. In a small (21 inning) sample size over four (?!) levels, Lorenzen posted a 3.00 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 5.6 BB/9, 1.571 WHIP, 0.9 HR/9 line, almost exclusively out of the bullpen. I'm not sure why he was moved around so much in a two month time frame, but I'd expect him to start the season in Dayton or Bakersfield next year.

CARLOS CONTRERAS, 23, RHP
Highest 2013 Level:
AA (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
9.6 K/9 in Bakersfield last year.
Most Worrisome Fact:
Walks, and lots of 'em.
Alias(es):
Mary Mary Quite Contreras

Another interesting prospect here, Contreras was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a teenager, and the Reds have been very slow with his development, keeping him in short season rookie leagues for his first four years. His first full season came in 2012 where he tossed 60 innings of 3.12 ERA out of the bullpen with a 9.3 K/9. Carlos made the transition to the rotation in 2013, where he kept up his high K rate (9.6 K/9) in Bakersfield, but saw his BB/9 rise to 4.1 with a 3.80 ERA in 18 starts. His last 8 starts of the year came in Pensacola where his K/9 plummeted to 5.5, but despite the lack of strikeouts, his ERA dropped to 2.76 over his final 42 innings. Contreras has an above average fastball that can touch 97, but sits in the mid 90's. His change-up shows potential, but his breaking ball needs a good deal of improvement. His mechanics are a little sloppy, and make it difficult for him to have a consistent release point, which leads to the lack of command and high walk rate. If he can improve his control and refine his breaking ball, Contreras could find himself in a big league rotation someday. But his fastball/change combo would easily play well in the bullpen.

JON MOSCOT, 22, RHP
Highest 2013 Level:
AA (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
Eye-Poppingest Fact:
8.6 K/9 over 2 levels in 2013
Most Worrisome Fact:
1.302 WHIP and 8.8 H/9 in 2013
Aliases:
Gopper, Sweet White Wine

The Pride of Pepperdine followed up a solid rookie league campaign, posting a 4.30 ERA in 146 innings between Bakersfield and Pensacola. His ERA was inflated a bit by 115 innings in the California League, but he dropped his ERA to 3.19 in 6 AA starts. Moscot has a four pitch repertoire, and coaxes a lot of ground balls. He was a little more hittable in 2013 than he was in his first season, but if he can keep the walks down, he could settle in as a mid-rotation starter, or as a Sam LeCure-esque bullpen arm.

DANIEL CORCINO, 23, RHP
Highest 2013 Level: AAA (Louisville Bats)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 1.23 ERA, 8 K, 0 BB in 7.1 Winter League innings
Most Worrisome Fact: 2013. All of it.
Aliases: Lil Cueto, Cuetinho

Oh how the mighty have fallen. The kid who was once billed as the successor to Johnny Cueto is looking more like the ghost of Eric Milton at the moment. Everything fell apart for Corcino in 2013 as his K-rates tumbled, his walk-rates skyrocketed, and he allowed homers at a 2012-Bronson Arroyoian rate. His control went the way of the dinosaur and the beeper, and he carried a 7+ ERA into freakin' June. His best month was July, which saw him sport a 4.50 ERA in 30 innings with 14 walks and 16 strikeouts. I think it's safe to say that if he struggles out of the gate for a month or two, he might be relegated to the bullpen full-time. He pitched well in the Dominican Winter League, albeit in 7.1 innings, but didn't walk anyone and struck out 8, working from the bullpen. Let's hope it's a sign of things to come.

CHAD ROGERS, 24, RHP
Highest 2013 Level:
AAA
Eye-Poppingest Fact: Survived a shark attack
Most Worrisome Fact: 6.6 K/9
Aliases: Sharkbait, Mr. Rogers, Hangin' Chad

A nice value pick in the 28th round of the 2010 draft, Chad Rogers started his career as a reliever in Dayton before being converted to a starter in 2012. His ultimate path to the bigs (besides catastrophic injuries to current starters) may still be as a reliever, but he's shown an ability to keep the ball on the ground and in the ballpark, while limiting his walks. He's by no means a flashy prospect, but he could very well be a contributor at the big league level as a long man, fill-in starter, or reliever. Again, not sexy, but certainly necessary. Also, he survived a freakin' shark attack. That gets points in my book.

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